NASCAR and Formula One are two of the most lucrative sports in the world, and chances are you’ve probably heard some cultural stereotypes about both racing communities. While you can probably take a guess at some of these stereotypes, (or you can take a read at Top Gear’s take on them here), the two sports are immensely popular.

At Affinio, the marketing intelligence platform, we decided to explore these two communities in greater detail and highlight how each fan base interacts online, how they self-describe, what they care about, and who they are most influenced by. By leveraging Affinio’s audience insights, anyone can become an expert on almost any social community in minutes. Take it from me, I’m not an expert in either NASCAR or Formula One and will probably never sit down and watch a race from start to finish. That said, by analyzing the Twitter audience of @F1 and @NASCAR I could immediately identify the cultural differences between these two communities… and I’ll admit, they’re pretty interesting!

While both sports revolve around a driver, a car, and trophies, these two sports are almost polar opposite. From the type of racetrack they compete on, the model of car, the location of races, to the brands that sponsor the league… these racing communities share more differences than similarities. Let’s just say, if you’re a big F1 fan then NASCAR probably isn’t your cup of tea… and vice versa!

So sit back, buckle up and let’s take a ride into the NASCAR and F1 communities.

I began my analysis by running two separate Affinio Twitter reports; one on the global @F1audience and one on the global @NASCAR audience. Affinio’s algorithm takes a look at each of the individuals in a given audience, then groups them into clusters based on similar interests. This leaves us with a breakdown of data-driven personas, that can be seen in the below two audience visualizations.

These audience-visualizations paint a picture of who each racing league is attracting, some groups are surprising, and some not so much. We found several very different interest-based clusters ranging from F1’s Ferrari Fans and Australian Racing Fanatics clusters to NASCAR’sCountry Music Fans and WWE clusters.

But let’s focus our attention on the F1 Super Fans and the NASCAR Super FANS to understand the culture of the most die-hard fans. Here’s what we found:

They have different influences. Lamborghinis VS Chevys.

Affinio is able to identify the top 1000 relevant accounts to each audience. Looking at the small sampling above, we can see that the F1 community is influenced primarily by the F1 teams such as McLaren, Renault Sport, Red Bull, and Mercedes. Celebrity influencers include current and past F1 drivers such as Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, and David Coulthard. As for influential brands to this audience, car brands such as Aston Martin, Lamborghini and Tesla make an appearance.

In contrast, looking at the NASCAR community we can see that the audience is influenced primarily by NASCAR drivers like Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahn. As for brands, looking within the top 1000 relevant accounts we were able to extract brands such as Arby’s, Monster Energy Drink, and Pepsi; as well as car brands such as Chevrolet and Ford.

They self-identify with the sport. Racing is LIFE!

While both communities share some self-describers such as Fan, Motorsports, and Racing, the rest of the terminology is centered around their chosen sport. The F1 community uses self-describing terms such as F1, Driver, and Motorsport; whereas the NASCAR community uses terms such as NASCAR, Life, and Married. These fans care so much about their respective sports that it has become a part of their social identity.

They talk about car races, just not the same ones.

The conversation that these groups engage in online are drastically different and driven by their interest in either racing league. Take for example F1 fans, their conversations are centred primarily around the last two Grand Prix races held in China and Bahrain. Whereas the NASCAR conversation was centred around events such as the Geico 500 race.

The content they care about is vastly different:

Global reach VS regional reach

Taking a look at where these Super Fan communities are located, it can be seen that the diehard F1 community, while heavily concentrated in the UK, has a global reach. In contrast, it seems that the diehard NASCAR fans are based in the US of A (insert American anthem).

Why Understanding the Culture of a Community is Critical

With tools like Affinio, it is now possible to inject yourself into the very center of a community’s culture and find out what drives them.

For F1 and NASCAR’s marketing teams, by understanding what influences, content, and topics are resonating with their ideal audiences they can ensure both sports remain culturally relevant. As for marketing and advertising professionals, understanding the culture of these sports can inform favourable advertising and sponsorship opportunities.

Learn more about how Affinio can help media and marketing professionals,

  • Find naturally occurring audience segments
  • Understand an entire social audience
  • Uncover audience insights in minutes, not months
  • Monitor and understand the content that resonates within a key audience
  • Identify ideal sponsorship and advertising opportunities

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Originally posted on the Affinio blog, “Understanding the Cultural Differences Between NASCAR and Formula One Fans

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